Social Policies and Poverty: A Review of Issues in Rural and Urban Poverty

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People living in poverty have always had a presence in the US, and poverty continues to be a problem. In 2012, there were 46.5 million people living in poverty, with a poverty rate of 15 percent, which is 2.5 percent higher than in 2007 (DeNavas-Walt, Proctor, Smith, 2013). The vast number of people living in poverty suggests the importance of reviewing social policies surrounding poverty issues. Concentrated poverty can cause issues such as a high crime rate, poor schooling, poor housing options, and poor health (Ross, 2013). These are all issues that can occur in rural and urban communities, though each face their own difficulties. This paper will review rural poverty with a focus on housing and food insecurity, and urban poverty with a focus on health and education. Historical Perspective of Poverty Poverty has always been prevalent in the US, and social policies have changed over the years to address different issues as they have grown. Colonial poor relief was established to address those living in poverty, allowing them to board with householders who received monetary assistance from officials (Popple & Leighninger, 2011). Settlement houses were established in the late 1800s, offering help with education and health services, as well as advocating for better housing conditions for the impoverished (United Neighborhood Houses, 2011). Today there are many aspects of poverty and social policy to examine, as they influence each other. With each period of economic hardship, such as a recession, many people are dependent upon social policies. Therefore, examining the history of each aspect and issue and the relevance to social policy is beneficial. Rural Poverty Rural poverty is often overlooked when examining ar... ... middle of paper ... ...he required test and moving some children into special education classes or alternative schools to keep up with requirements However, recent revisions of the ESEA would help students prepare for college or careers with better learning opportunities and vocational training (Urban Institute, n.d.). Education can be a determining factor in the cycle of poverty, which makes examining these policies in urban areas so important. Conclusion While there are some differences between rural and urban poverty, many challenging issues overlap between the two. Safe housing, food security, healthcare, and education are all basic rights that each individual should be granted, and social policy affects each one of these issues. Poverty may never disappear in the US, but examining social policies and advocating for change can have a huge influence on the future of poverty.

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